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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

Well, here it is, the close of Mother's Day 2007. Not being a mother, I have to wonder what mother's really think of this day. Do they feel honored? Cherished? Appreciated? How do they feel on this day, amongst others? Is being a mother really a rewarding proposition? What about the pain that mothers endure? And I don't just mean the pain of childbirth either! I'm talking about the heartache, the disappointments and all the other forms of pain that a mother gets to walk through.

I know what it's like to be a father. (After all, I am one.) Do mothers experience it the same way that fathers do? Somehow I suspect it's considerably different for mothers. Yet I can't quite grasp what it really is like. I had a chat with my wife today. We talked about our parenting experience. The catalyst was when my son was thrown out of Sunday school for having disruptive behavior. Someone told me yesterday that the Bible says children are a joy. I can't recall where, but I'm sure that's accurate. I wonder why it says that. It didn't feel like joy when our son's number was flashed across the screen in the worship center and I had to excuse myself in the middle of the sermon.

I suppose there are some who would say that any lack of joy on the part of a parent is probably the parent's fault. That would definitely not be something I'd like to hear today. I suspect it's not something any mother would want to hear either, especially when she's walking through some pain, challenge or particular heartache that can only belong to a parent. Are there Mother's Day cards for this? If so, where are they? Where does one buy a greeting card that actually reflects the true mothering experience? What would such a card look like?

My own mother was a dichotomy. She's dead now, at peace after a lifelong battle with her own demons. She was a lovely woman, and probably had as great an influence on me as anyone could. I could love her and was fiercely loyal to her. At the same time, I often feared her, was desperate for her approval, and at times even got angry at her.

I remember once calling my mother to talk about something that was important to me. I don't remember what it was that was so important, mind you. But I recall that it was --- because of the way I reacted. I was trying to talk to my mother about this important topic, and she would just drift through the conversation as if didn't matter. She would tell me about the neighbors or something. I don't remember what was said. But I remember hanging up the phone and just sobbing. I was so angry at her for her indifference to something that was important. In the grand scheme of mistakes mothers make, this one was incredibly innocuous. I wonder now why I was so upset with her.

My mother went to her grave not knowing much about me. At least that's my perspective. At the same time, perhaps a mother is the only person on earth who knows so much about the son or daughter that they raised. How can this be --- when there is so much that they don't know about us?

Our dog found five baby rabbits in a nest in our flower bed this afternoon. She bit one of them. We tried to rescue the others. Their eyes weren't open yet. But they could scream when they were in the jaws of a chocolate lab. We got on the Internet to see how to take care of them. The article we read said to put them back in the nest within ten feet of where you found them. It said that mother rabbits only return to the nest for about five minutes per day to nurse their babies. When the babies are old enough to eat on their own, the mother rabbits don't return at all!

I thought this was a strange incident to have in one's back yard on Mother's Day. It caused me to reflect on motherhood and realize that despite our efforts to honor, praise and thank mothers --- we really don't have a clue what this motherhood is all about. In fact, my wife stood there by the baby rabbits and said, "You have to deal with this one. I do this all the time and I'm not doing it this time!" I began to realize that even if one is a mother, there is probably much about motherhood that she doesn't have full comprehension of.

This motherhood thing is pretty complicated. I think it's probably too complicated for common humans to even understand. At any rate, happy Mother's Day.

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